The campaign to put $3.5 billion more into schools over 10 years is shifting its tone now that early voting is underway.
Following a barrage of statements mostly touting the endorsements of politicians (many of whom are legislators who voted for the K-12 settlement package last fall), the campaign is no longer just focusing on what schools would get, but what they stand to lose if the ballot measure fails next month.
Indeed, the campaign is hinting at a sense of urgency.
“Voting is underway right now,” campaign spokesman Christian Palmer said. “It’s important voters understand the impact, including the (money) impact this year. We’re driving that home on all fronts. If Prop. 123 doesn’t pass, these planned raises and investments vanish. We’ve been making this clear.”
On April 25, Palmer listed two dozen school districts that have included pay raises for teachers in their budgets.
“But those raises will evaporate in most communities without the guaranteed dollars that Proposition 123 provides,” he said in a press release.
On April 26, the campaign delivered the same message, but with a more ominous tone.
If the proposition fails, the campaign said, schools are preparing for the “worst-case scenario.”
“If Prop. 123 doesn’t pass, many teachers not only won’t receive a bump in their already below-average pay, some will have higher insurance premiums or receive a pay cut,” Palmer said.
Palmer followed up with another missive on April 27, emphasizing that failure or passage of Prop. 123 means a difference of $230 million for schools.
“If Prop. 123 fails, the budgets many school districts have prepared with teacher pay raises will fall to the wayside immediately. Instead of teacher pay increasing, school districts will continue to lose teachers to other states who pay their educators more,” he said.
The ballot measure, if approved by the public on May 17, settles a long-running litigation over inflation funding for K-12 schools.
The stakes are high. The proposition’s failure would force the state and the school districts back into the courts, where schools could lose billions of dollars they anticipate to get or, inversely, the state would be compelled to pay just as much after withholding full inflationary payments during the recessionary years.